Don’t let water damage bring down the curtain on your business
Markel’s claims history reveals that our dance and performing arts clients experience water damage losses mostly resulting from: water intrusion from severe weather events, ruptured pipes, and toilet overflow. Water can cause significant damage to your dance floors and electronic equipment if it goes undetected. Additionally, slips and falls caused by water and debris on the restroom floor are frequently reported claims. These claims often result in a disruption of business continuity. How long that disruption may last depends on how well you are prepared to manage a water loss should it occur.
With your commitment and support, we can work together to help reduce the likelihood of a water loss destroying your property and having an adverse impact on your business.
To prevent water intrusion from severe weather events, you can take the following precautions:
- Check interior walls and ceilings. Water stains on the ceiling or running down walls may be the sign of a much greater problem behind the drywall. If left untreated, the ceiling or wall may collapse. Water often travels along structural members, so a stain may appear at a distance from where the leak actually is.
- Inspect flashing and sealants around windows, roofs and doors. Check sealants and caulking. If they are brittle or there are noticeable gaps in spaces, reseal or apply new caulk to the area.
- Check roof drainage systems and ventilation systems. Ensure roof drains and gutters are free of debris, and that water drains away from buildings. If the roof is in poor condition, you may need to replace it. Make sure ventilation systems have appropriate hoods and are in good condition. Check heating and air conditioning systems for excessive condensation or leaks in water lines. You may need to contact a professional contractor to inspect these areas properly.
- Inspect foundations and exterior walls. Look for cracks in walls and gaps in expansion joints (material between bricks, pipes and other building materials that absorbs movement). Have a professional building contractor inspect significant gaps or cracks.
Ruptured pipes and waterlines can be prevented using the following steps:
- Check plumbing. Look for leaking fixtures, dripping pipes (including fire sprinkler systems), clogged drains, and defective water-drainage systems.
- Protect exposed pipes with insulation made to retard freezing.
- Never hang anything from sprinkler heads.
- In extremely low temperatures, open faucets so a trickle of water moves through the pipes.
- Hire a professional plumber to inspect your pipes before winter, particularly if you are in an older structure. They can offer long-term recommendations that can help reduce the likelihood of pipes bursting.
Overflowing sinks and toilets often lead to extensive damage and repair costs.
It is recommended that you monitor your studio restroom(s). This can help reduce the likelihood that the restroom becomes a hazard zone. The frequency of your inspections depends on how often the restrooms are used and the number of clients in your facility each day. The minimum standard should be every hour or more frequently for high volume usage. Check each stall. Look under fixtures, trash cans, and floor mats for excess pools of water and debris. If a stall is occupied, wait for it to become available so it can be checked. That way, nothing is overlooked.
Any inspections you conduct should be thorough, consistent and well documented in case you need to refer to it later. Maintain this information with your other business records. This includes records outlining any corrective measures you take as well.
Be prepared to respond.
Be prepared to take immediate corrective action to resolve any water hazard(s) you find. If you notice water or debris on the floor; clean it up immediately. If the floor is wet, post a conspicuous warning sign to advise your clientele and any guests of a potential hazardous condition. Because a ruptured pipe and overflowing toilets can quickly dump several gallons of water on the floor in a matter of minutes, it is important that staff know how to turn the water off if faced with this emergency. Keep in mind that commercial urinals and toilets may require additional steps to shut the water off at the source. Invite a plumber to show staff what to do and then include those steps as a reference for the future reference.
To help mitigate potential damage from water intrusion, broken pipes, and bathroom utilities, consider investing in emergency water shutoff systems for toilets and alert systems that can advise you if unwanted water intrudes in other areas of your building.
Learn more about emergency action plans by visiting Markel's risk management library and read the following article: Building a comprehensive emergency action plan.
Because a water damage event may require the involvement of a third-party contractor, it is important you obtain contractors that are appropriate for your situation. You can gain additional understanding about what you need to know about working with independent contractors. Click here to read more.
Markel attended the IDEA conference on June 30 - August 1, where our very own Michael Swain presented "Risk Management Strategies that will keep you light on your toes".